Posts Tagged With 'Language'

Memory Techniques To Boost Your Foreign Language Learning

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Memory Techniques To Boost Your Foreign Language Learning

Using Mnemonics in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning

So how much vocabulary do you actually need to know before you can “get by” and actually converse in a foreign language? That depends on who you ask, as that tends to vary somewhat.

In his book, “Using Your Memory”, author Tony Buzan says that a mere 100 words comprise nearly 50% of the vocabulary used in every day conversational speech in most languages. Learning the equivalent of these words in a foreign language can help you to quickly develop essential vocabulary for everyday conversational use. But is this really enough?

Link Word Technique

Generally, you can function at the most basic level in a foreign language with a core vocabulary of around 1000 words according to Dr. Michael Gruneberg who formalized the “LinkWord” technique. He claims that, using this technique of linking a word in your own language to a word in the new language, you can acquire a core vocabulary in a foreign language in as little as 10 hours.

The LOCI Method

According to Cicero, the LOCI Method or Roman Room System is said to have originated in ancient Greece circa 500 B.C. When the building he was in collapsed, crushing all of the people inside beyond recognition, the only survivor, poet Simonides of Ceos identified the victims by name solely based on where they had been sitting at the dinner table. The technique was commonly used for centuries by Greek and Roman orators to give speeches without using notes.

The Pimsleur Method

The Pimsleur Method folks check in at 2,500 words as a minimum core vocabulary to communicate fluently in a foreign language. This is much closer to what I’ve actually found in real-world practice to be an effective depth of vocabulary.

Personally, I advocate a minimum core vocabulary in the range of 1500 to 2000 words. Sure you can “communicate” with much fewer words, as few as 500 depending on the context, but you could often sound “strained”, “artificial” or even “childish” in your speech constructions while trying to get your point across.

In addition, if you’re working in a skilled trade, vocation or profession, the minimum core vocabulary count could ramp up as much as another 300 to 500 words. So any time spent acquiring needed foreign language vocabulary is definitely time well spent. In the next article of this series we’ll consider a simple method you can use to start learning key vocabulary right away.

Learning the Russian Language

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Learning the Russian Language

The Russian language is the most commonly spoken language in Europe. It is a Slavic language whose roots can be traced to Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin. Though not as internationally prominent as its days as the official language of the former Soviet Union, it is still the official language of such countries as Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Russian is a language of dignity, but can seem intimidating to learn. If you have considered learning a second language, the Russian language will prove to be a challenging yet rewarding achievement.

As a student of the Russian language, you have several alternatives by which you can learn it. If you choose to study Russian at the college level, and receive your degree in it, you will acquire an expertise in the language that can provide you with several career opportunities. With a degree in Russian, one career option for you is as a foreign language translator. Foreign language translation firms employ people who are fluent in many different languages, including Russian. Coupled with knowledge in another field (such as law or medicine), you would have the opportunity to work to bridge the gap between English-speaking and Russian-speaking business contacts by translating websites and documents for them. Another career opportunity would be as a teacher of English as a second language in a Russian-speaking country. After receiving your teaching certification, you could work for a language school in Russia teaching students how to speak, read, and write English. With a solid knowledge of Russian, you would be able to work and live alongside native Russian speakers with ease.

If you are interested in learning the Russian language for travel purposes, you can opt to enroll in an accelerated course online. You can learn basic Russian at your own pace, and you will feel more comfortable when you travel to Russian speaking countries if you know how to communicate you basic needs (such as asking for directions) to Russian residents. If you have the time and the financial resources, another option is to learn the Russian language by enrolling in an immersion program in Russia. An immersion program lasts anywhere from two to six weeks. By doing this, you will not only learn the Russian language, but you will also experience the Russian way of life. You will become part of the life and culture, and you will learn the language quickly, despite your uncertainties. Through intensive group and individual training, you will learn the conversational and colloquial styles of Russian. You will interact on a daily basis with people who are native speakers of the Russian language, and you will have no choice but to communicate with them in their native tongue. You will be captivated by the everyday life of Moscow or St. Petersburg. You will grow to understand and appreciate the Russian culture: the history, the art, the culture (the ballet!), the architecture, the food, and the people. You will attend courses in which you will learn the Russian alphabet, and learn how to read and write in Russian as well. Learning the Russian language in an immersion program is an exciting way to broaden you horizons and vacation all at the same time.

By learning to speak, read, and write the Russian language, you have the potential to one day embark on a career as a foreign language translator, providing an invaluable service to global corporations. You can live abroad and teach English to Russian students, while experiencing a new culture. Learning Russian will make you a more sophisticated traveler as well. You will be able to show more appreciation, and enjoy the Russian culture more when you can communicate with the residents. By learning the Russian language, you have the knowledge of another language, another history, another culture, and your scope of the world will be broadened just a little bit more. Russian Language

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